Huckleberry Friend

We're after the same…

 

mailbox

I don’t know why it soothes me so

when the mail comes,

the sound of the metal door swinging open

then closing—satisfying—shut.

 

The post’s arrival marks mid-afternoon,

a quarter-note in the cadence of slow days.

I try to shed pajamas

and get the babies bathed by eleven

most mornings.

 

The mail-woman—she’s in her late sixties, I think,

dangles a cigarette from her mouth—

for months I thought it was a lollipop.

Now I know it’s newly lit—she must start to smoke at the box or two before,

16437 or 16345.

 

When there’s a package too big for our box

she lays on the horn,

hoping I’ll emerge so she won’t have to climb out of her truck

and clomp up the steps to the front porch,

but I duck behind the living room curtain.

 

Mostly she brings bills and flyers and coupon packs

for gutter cleaning, plumbers, Chinese lunch buffets,

yet their arrival tells me there’s a workaday world

still spinning,

with people showered and dressed early and getting and spending.

Once upon another time,

me with my master’s degree and pantyhose, hot coffee in a steel travel mug,

we were going places,

we were somebody.

 

A long while from now—but not so long, really—the box

will be stuffed with college come-ons

from Tech and perhaps even Vandy or Duke,

they’ll court my girls—I can see already how bright they are.

 

I set the mail on the counter for my better half,

he’ll sift through it later,

standing in his tie

while I stir what’s on the stove,

the hair around my face curling from the steam.

 

One thought on “Two-thirty (a poem)

  1. jenni justmann says:

    This is just a lovely poem. Excellent!

    Like

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